Gemma Flanagan Gemma Flanagan, who created the Krannert Student Hub to facilitate student networking, will graduate in May with a BS degree in finance and strategic and organizational management. She was recently named an Outstanding Senior and accepted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. (Photo by Rebecca Wilcox)

Hub of Activity

Senior helps create area for student engagement

Networking can be a key component in finding successful outcomes in academic, business and social settings. However, finding these important connections in a new environment can prove to be a daunting task.

Honors College and Krannert School of Management student Leila Gemma Flanagan aims to break down these barriers with the Student Krannert Hub, a “one-stop shop” to help students learn about clubs, classes and professional development that will soon greet students in the Krannert Drawing Room.

Flanagan, who will earn a BS degree in finance and strategic and organizational management in May 2019, was recently named an Outstanding Senior and accepted into Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Upon graduation, she will be moving home to Los Angeles to pursue a career in production management in the film and television industry.

Flanagan created the Krannert Student Hub to facilitate student networking. Krannert students are able to use the Hub’s resources, which include both a physical and online presence, to connect with each other both inside and outside of the classroom, and it helps them find avenues to explore various interests.

The renovated space will officially open for the fall 2019 semester as an inviting “Welcome Center” for visitors and feature peer advising services and interactive monitors for student use, among other resources.

Students looking to get more involved in Krannert can go to the Krannert Student Hub and talk to other students about experiences and opportunities on Purdue’s campus. The Hub has a database of clubs and organizations. Based on the student’s interests, their peers at the Hub can help them decide how to get involved.

“The goal is for the program to become a central part of the Krannert experience,” she explains. “It aims to make communicating easier and more centralized, and to be trusted by both internal and external users.”

The idea for this method of connection began with one of Flanagan’s many trips out of the country. Through a study abroad experience in Copenhagen in the fall 2017 semester, she noticed the Copenhagen Business School offered students a way to explore various opportunities, not just on campus, but also around the city.

“Copenhagen had a great program for student life and student involvement,” she says. “Through both their building and website, they addressed programming in the city and the school, and helped students find entrepreneurial assistance.”

Flanagan used the Copenhagen program and similar initiatives at other universities as a template for the Krannert Student Hub, which will also serve as her Honors College scholarly project.

As a requirement for graduation, these projects task students with the creation of new knowledge while granting the freedom to be creative and avoid a restrictive checklist of requirements. This allows students to pursue their passions and study multidisciplinary connections that might otherwise go unexplored.

Flanagan saw the need for better networking within Krannert, and she developed a solution in the form of an easily accessible resource. Providing students with a simple way to network with one another will help connect them with new experiences and open new doors for personal and professional development.

In fact, founding the Krannert Student Hub helped Flanagan connect with the leaders of other student organizations, particularly Raymond Peck from the Purdue Marketing Association and Jeff Radzik from PurdueTHINK. She also recruited 14 council members for the Hub to help it grow and evolve.

“They all deserve credit,” Flanagan says. “It wouldn’t have been possible without their support, so it’s really been a shared success.”

By Eric Nelson